West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Recording

West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Recording / 2007 Decca / 20 Tracks / http://www.westsidestory.com /

Pretty much anyone that has watched their fair share of movies or stage performances is at least familiar with “West Side Story”. Since West Side Story originally opened in 1957, the individuals related to the show, along with Decca’s Broadway imprint, thought it necessary to come out with a re-imagining of the score.

The score for West Side Story is not revamped quite as often as some of the other musicals; the last time there was a major revision to the songs and approaches taken to the score, it was in 1984.  The 1984 version of the score still had Bernstein conducting, so it is interesting to see how Hayley Westenra and Vittorio Grigolo reinterpret these modern classics. While individuals in the United States may not be too familiar with the work of Westernra, ey has sold over two million copies of eir debut album, “Pure’. Vittorio Grigolo may be a little bit more in the public eye in the United States, as ey did a duet with Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls in the last year. Regardless of what they have done in the past, the work that these two vocal stars put into making “West Side Story” sound fantastic should be what they are known for in the future. Whether it is “Jet Song” or “I Have A Love”, the soaring vocals and impressive array of sounds, styles, and approaches each of these two singers take will ensure that individuals keep this disc in their home stereo or CD changer for months to come.

While it could be the case that the orchestra falls flat and pulls down the vocals with it, the orchestra in this recording provides the perfect companionship to the vocals. Building up and highlighting specific sections of songs like “Jump” and “One Hand, One Heart”, the orchestra in this recording of the West Side Story soundtrack is immaculate. The only thing that I would have liked to see with this CD would be a companion DVD with the actual performance of West Side Story by this cast. I understand that the CD will sell itself regardless of what extra is bundled on, but it would be nice to see them transition from being a purely vocal to a blend of vocal and visual type of performance. Both Grigolo and Westenra have long futures ahead of them; I’m sure that they will maintain their position on the top of the charts.

Top Tracks: Mambo, I Feel Pretty

Rating: 6.8/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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